The number of fad diets in existence today is pretty extensive, and each has their own way of roping you in—a new and exciting way to become lean and healthy. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a healthier version of yourself, but do know what you’re getting into before taking the plunge.
The diet I recently tackled was a 28-day challenge that provided grocery lists, meal plans and a daily workout regimen. The crazy organizational side of me thoroughly enjoyed this. However, I knew my system was in for a shock when I had to say goodbye to ice cream and my two to three daily cups of coffee.
Brace Yourself and Pace Yourself
If it isn’t part of the plan already, it’s a good idea to start your diet at the beginning of a new week.
This way, you’ll have a fresh start and all those unhealthy habits will be behind you. Get excited for this new experience rather than dreading the cravings you think you’ll have. 90% of a diet is all about mental drive—the rest is what you eat and how you exercise. So, make sure to prepare yourself with positive energy. If you start strong, you’re sure to finish even stronger.
Diets can sometimes feel like a competition with yourself. After day one, you’ll want to check the scale and expect it to read five pounds less than it did the day before.
There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to do better, but make sure to know your limits. If you know your body can’t endure three sets of 20 burpees, take it down to 10 and build up your strength. The worst thing you can do while on a diet is push yourself to the point of no return.
Learn to Prep Meals
I had always heard of and seen people cooking and preparing a week’s worth of lunches at one time, and it wasn’t something that I envied. Well, let me tell you right now, it’s worth it.
The first meal I attempted to prep was a bit disastrous, only beginning with unthawed chicken and burnt vegetables. If you’re anything like me in these situations, frazzled is your middle name. Regardless, I struggled through the stress in the kitchen and finally threw together 4 days’ worth of lunch. I thanked myself when lunch was ready in 30 seconds the next day.
That’s the whole purpose behind meal prepping. Although it can be stressful and time-consuming at first, it’s worth it. Not only that, the whole process definitely gets easier with time. By the end of the challenge, you’ll be a meal-prepping pro and a proud owner of way too many Tupperware containers.
Work Out First
Within the first few days of my challenge, I quickly realized that if I didn’t work out in the morning, I wasn’t going to work out at all.
Unless you already have a daily exercise routine, I would highly recommend getting into the habit of working out right after breakfast. This way, you will have got your exercise out of the way before the day even starts, and you can come home at the end of the day and fall into bed because you deserve it.
You may tell yourself that you’ll make time to work out later, but you never know what the rest of your day will put in the way to keep your from it.
It’s difficult to create new habits, especially when it comes to food.
That’s why it’s okay to reward yourself after making progress in your diet. After each week of success, reward yourself with something you’ve always wanted. Why? Because now you have a reason to. Get your nails done, and get yourself motivated for the next week of progress.
Get Back Up
The dark ominous cloud that looms over us before, during and after every healthy meal: cheat day. Everyone has their own opinions about cheat days and those may be kept. However, if you do choose to indulge, don’t allow it to keep you from getting back on track.
A common mistake people make while dieting is giving up after a cheat day as if they’ve broken a winning streak that can never be accomplished again.
A cheat day isn’t an excuse to continue cheating for the rest of the week. It’s a reason to wake up the next morning and start fresh, but without hating yourself for having had dessert.
Beating yourself up about a cheat day won’t get you anywhere. So, if a cookie just can’t be resisted during that time of the month, eat ONE cookie and be happy about it. Then, be ready to conquer the rest of the week ahead of you in a healthy and cheat-free fashion.
Do it for the Right Reasons
The most crucial tip I can provide when it comes to any type of dieting is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Make sure you’re not changing your lifestyle to please someone else or to meet any type of social expectations. The only way you can truly be impressed by the results of a diet is to be happy with yourself and to challenge yourself to reach goals that only you are striving for.
What's your experience with dieting?